Whooping cough cases turn up in South Georgia

Published: Jan. 6, 2011 at 10:26 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 9, 2011 at 10:12 PM EST
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By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) –Whooping cough cases are still turning up in South Georgia after an outbreak last summer.

Health officials have confirmed cases in Lowndes and Brooks Counties recently and warn you that the respiratory infection is extremely contagious.

The south Heath District has confirmed two whooping cough cases in Lowndes and Brooks County. It's no where near an epidemic like in California but  "for every one case that we know about there's a bout seven or eight cases out there that we don't know about," said South Health District Epidemiologist Rachel Franklin, MPH.

That's because in older children and adults whooping cough or pertussis may be less severe and go undiagnosed. People who don't know they're infected are more likely to pass it on to infant who could get seriously ill.

"It starts out like a cold," said South Health District Public Information Officer Courtney Sheeley.

It starts with a runny nose, sneezing, a mild fever, and a after a couple of weeks a severe cough develops.

"You can really tell you have pertussis when you have a cough that you really just can't get rid of," said Sheeley.

Some high risk groups include infants less than two months old. Health officials say the best protection is to get a vaccine.

"If infants have a cocoon around them with their family members, friends, daycare providers if they have that cocoon of protection that can protect them as well as the community," said Franklin.

When you get your whooping cough shot you're also vaccinating yourself against tetanus and diptheria.

While the disease is not as prevalent as it was in the summer it's still here. Make sure you take other preventive measures by washing your hands, using sanitizer and covering your mouth with your sleeve or tissue when you cough.

The TDAP, the tetaus, diptheria, and pertussis shot is recommended for adults and adolescents even it's been less than 10 years since last tetanus shot. For more information, click here.

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